via Daily Prompt: Narcissism


They knew the jig was nearly up about the time that Doonesbury began to lose it’s relevance. These restless souls marked their last days of the twentieth century still evaluating the efficacy of the Ma Bell breakup, belatedly purchasing compact disc players and updating their collections. They survived the Y2K hysteria with the false optimism that, for at least one time in their lives, actually served them well. In the dawn of a new century they sat at keyboards and monitors, a new television screen to dull the senses. In another age they might have been mute apes puzzling over sticks and jagged rocks, possessed of the intuition that all the pieces were there, but what to do with them?


Many simply wandered off from this edgy frontier, scoffing at Huxley as they went. They donned their robes and eventually formed single file in the long, slow march down to the riverside where redemption awaits. Pastors of the new church rode upon the backs of bloated water buffaloes, herding their flock along, dispensing credit cards and pain killers; drink the wine, chew the wafer. This is the new communion, they were told, along with a host of other sacraments to be observed. They were mean little men, dressed in hair shirts and lace panties, squinting down over the massive horns of the beasts. In dulcet tones they seduced their congregants, assuring that they need confess nothing, instead only increase their credit limits.


Heading for a promised land, seeking some reward at the proverbial rainbow’s end, this flock’s faith begins to waver now, plagued with suspicions and self recrimination. Just as those old testament tales of bygone Sunday school classes, back when television was still free and in black and white, they realize that they too have been led aimlessly in a desert. They ponder: is it too late to turn back, or shall we begin to fashion our own golden calf? Their years are waning, their options diminished, yet there are still those who persevere. In a narcotic trance they stumble on, convinced they hear the flowing waters. They close their eyes and let the sun warm their faces as they drift into their daydream. There at the water’s edge those nice young orderlies in their crisp white uniforms stand, waiting with stainless steel trays, latex gloves and loaded syringes. They’re ready for you now, to administer that final dose. In a matter of minutes those few milligrams find their way through the bloodstream and they are freed of their earthly bonds, convinced finally, that in the end it was all worth it.


Along this reverent procession there were detractors, roving bands of guerrilla ministries proselytizing for their own version of salvation. There were sci-fi prophets and wunderkinds, new age messiahs to soothe every discomfort, boldly going where every dead socialist before them had already tread. In the end they were all forging their existence on the ability to persuade others to surrender their currency, whatever form that might take. Gold, silver, oil, dignity; every one of these mined out of the ground to which they all, ultimately return.


The meek do not inherit the earth. That mantle shall rest with the Jesters, the clowns, the underachievers. Slackers of the world unite. Or not. Inheriting this rock is not a prize. It comes with a certain degree of commitment attached to it; something the slacker may have missed on the first pass. Still, don’t underestimate them. After all they made it this far. They are like the mental patient who stands at the fence, in a pouring rainstorm, and stares out at the world laughing hysterically. He laughs because he knows that he is on the outside of the fence looking in.